All posts by pragmaticmom

Holes Louis Sachar Award winning best book for reluctant readers pragmatic mom pragmaticmom

Best Books for Middle School Kids from Actual Middle School Students

Favorite Books for Middle School from Middle School Kids

Once your child can read Harry Potter, the entire universe of books opens up, but what is age appropriate?  I have handed my oldest chapter books that were Newbery Award winners, on the thin side, and with decent size type only to find them a tad too old for her based on content.  I have a tendency to steer what I call “Grapes of Wrath” realism to middle school; I think these books are fine for 4th or 5th grade as a classroom assignment because the teacher provides context, but reading for pleasure should be … a pleasure.  Read more…

parenting teens, parenting tweens, parenting teenagers

How To: Parent a Teenager

Parenting a Teenager Advice

My  husband sent me this article that his friend sent him.  Neither of us have teenagers yet but I guess my husband’s friend is also a repository of information.  And I did collect this tidbit at  a cocktail party from my neighbors with a teenage daughter:  drive your child to school in the morning  if s/he normally takes the bus.   S/he will appreciate the extra 15 minutes or so of sleep and will be in a good mood so will actually talk to you.  Taking your teenage daughter for a shopping and lunch outing is also the only time she gets a complete update on her daughter’s life.

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best books for boys middle school elementary school 3rd 4th 5th 6th third fourth fifth sixth reluctant reader pragmaticmom pragmatic mom

Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise (ages 7-14)

Great Books for Boys, Reluctant Readers or Otherwise

This post is getting too long (and crashing) so I splitting it into three parts:

Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise: Part 1 (Authors by Last Name A-L)

Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise: Part 2 (Authors by Last Name M-Z)

Best Books for Boy Readers, Reluctant or Otherwise: Part 3 (Non-Fiction) Read more…

Best Chapter Books for Newly Independent Readers (ages 6-9)

Best Books for 1st Grade and 2nd Grade (when kids start reading independently)

I find that there is a void for newly independent readers. You know, the readers that have graduated from Henry and Mudge and insist on chapter books, but not ready for Newbery Award books. While there are a plethora of chapter books, the quality of many series books is low with a repetitive and tiresome story line and limited vocabulary. Read more…

best picture books to build vocabulary

Best Picture Books to Build Vocabulary (ages 2-8)

These picture books are a fun way to build vocabulary effortlessly. I also have a series of posts on picture books with SAT vocabulary from the literacy specialist at our elementary school. She selects a series of picture books and pulls out big words along with a sentence with the word. Little kids like big words!

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Andy Rooney, Women over forty

Women Over 40 by Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes

Why Women Over 40 are Better than Younger Women

In case you missed it on ’60 Minutes’, this is what  Andy Rooney thinks about women over 40. Read more…

Our Favorite ABC Books for Kids

Learning ABCs with ABC Picture Books

I found that a great way to learn letters was to play games with magnetic letters.  I deconstructed various toys to create an “alphabet game” using squishy magnetic letters (but any magnetic letters in the shape of the letters will do) and a magnetic fishing pole.  My son (about 12 months old at the time) would fish letters out of a bucket and stick them on a magnetic board.  If he got them wrong, I’d find the correct letter and put up next to the letter.  We’d talk about how is it the same and how is it different.  Read more…

Gale Berkowitz, why women need female friends, why women need girlfriends,

Why Women Need Girlfriends: Stress Relief!

How Women Cope with Stress (differently from men)

My friend sent me this study and it really rang true for me.  This is why we all like to hang out at Starbucks after drop-off!  It’s good for our health!

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more. Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis.

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best picture books for kids, best picture books, best picture books you've never heard of

Best Picture Books You’ve Never Heard Of

Best Picture Books for Kids EVER!

I love picture books; it’s a complete story in 24ish pages with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  It’s a visit to an art gallery or a museum with beautiful artwork in all kinds of media — drawings, paintings, collages, and more.  It can transport you to another time and place, a different culture, or a different person’s point of view.  Picture books are NOT just for young children; I insist they are for everyone, adult and child alike.  My 4th grader’s teacher is reading Patricia Polacco’s picture books to the class and the kids are thoroughly enjoying them.  Picture books also make bedtime stories a pleasure because one reader can satisfy a wide audience. Read more…